Greater Palm Springs has always been conducive to a healthy lifestyle with its glorious year-round weather and magical landscape full of hikes and trails. It’s only natural that world-class health food options would abound in a place where fitness plays a major part in many people’s lives. Whether you are a gluten-free fan, a paleo protein lover, a grainy forager or a fan of farm to table, the oasis offers a menu for all discerning healthy palates.
For Breakfast and Lunch
Ristretto in the Five Hundred boasts some quick and healthy breakfast items such as the fantastic steel cut oatmeal bowl that is dense with dried cranberries, slivered almonds and golden raisins. There is also a creamy low-fat vanilla yogurt topped with granola, a veggie scramble chock full of peppers and spinach and sun-dried tomato wraps. Enjoy your meal with a giant green tea latte while sitting at the outdoor patio of the landmark 500 building with great mountain views.
Nature’s Health Food and Café has been serving up specialty items from a deli counter at the front of its grocery, homeopathic and nutritional store for decades. The vegan and vegetarian offerings are known for their creativity and deliciousness that follow seasonal ingredients like the sumptuous squash blossom flower quesadilla or strawberry and nut filled tamales. A juice bar offers elixirs for whatever ails you like the “Luv Ur Liver” rich with beets. The Fakin Bacon is famous for being as addictive as the real thing stuffed into wraps and sprinkled on faux-omelets. The date shake is also legendary. While waiting for your food, you can browse the in-depth offerings at the market including vitamins, supplements, organic produce, snacks, bulk grains and flours, food, drink and everything else required for whole health.
Soulful yogis and conscious hipsters lunch at the popular Native Foods, a locally originated restaurant serving “chef crafted” vegan that has since spawned locations in Los Angeles, Colorado, Chicago and more. The small and funky restaurant is known for its artistry with fake meats like seitan and tempeh strewn across tacos, imitating pastrami, costumed as chicken wings and taking the place of hearty burgers. They are perhaps best known for their “handhold” sandwiches, wraps and savory earth bowls stuffed with rice, tofu, vegetables and exotic sauces. Current popular items include the meatless super Italian meatball sub or Oklahoman bacon cheeseburger, award-winning Ensalada Azteca, Native nachos, rockin’ Moroccan bowl and for dessert, a luscious peanut butter parfait.
At Luscious Lorraine’s Organic Juice and Food Bar, chef Lorraine Ornelas is committed to providing fresh, wholesome food for those who care about consciousness and creativity in their meals. Alongside traditional salads and wraps are special touches like the homemade soup of the day. Some locals’ favorites include the Blanca Tuna sandwich stuffed with white albacore, chopped almonds, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, vegenaise, sprouts, tomato and mustard and the Avo Chili Rap full of black bean hummus with chipotle, mixed greens, cabbage, avocado, roasted chilis and avo-tahini dressing. There is an extensive fresh pressed organic vegetable and juice bar and a huge selection of all organic smoothies.
The refreshingly decorated Palm Greens Cafe is a sit-down restaurant that touts itself as vegan, organic, gluten-free, and wild caught “deep fat fry-free zone.” Entrees are substantial plates like market fresh fish, a cioppino boat, curry tofu or lamb skewers peppered amongst lighter entrees of sandwiches, salads, soups and tapas. An extensive juice bar offers unique mixes like the turmeric gold with turmeric root and red apple that helps with pain, metabolism and the heart or the beloved Bradley’s Ultra Green packed with spinach, kale, mint, banana, apple juice, ginger, probiotics, aloe vera and spirulina. There are wellness shots full of superfoods like E3 Lives’ original Klamath Lake blue-green algae; tonics, elixirs and extracts for anything that ails you; and organic cocktails made with port and vermouth. There is even a smoothie named after part-time desert resident Suzanne Somers. Sweet tooths will love the nut mylk shakes such as a Mexican chocolate version blended with vanilla almond mylk, ancho chili powder and coconut ice cream. For a quick bite, order the unctuous sweet potato and corn empanada or the calamari kimchi tacos.
At Citrus & Palm at the Miramonte Resort you’ll find the makings of an elegant dinner that is equally healthy. Chef Robert Nyerick uses citrus from the resort’s groves and fresh produce from the on-site herb and vegetable garden to create artisan dishes like golden tomato gazpacho and free-range roasted chicken with root vegetables. A proper sit down under the stars on their patio is the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of fresh pappardelle frutti di mare chock full of shrimp, calamari, salmon, sea bass, lobster, scallops peas and saffron cream. Or opt for the savory quinoa stack piled with roasted mushrooms, pepitas, butternut squash, grilled tomato and arugula.
Grab and Go
Harvest Health Food is vast, earthy and friendly and stocked with holistic and sustainable produce, raw and organic nut and seed butters, kombucha, raw honey, garden of life products, sea salts, apple cider vinegars, heart healthy butters and oils, bee pollen, seaweeds and specialty items like nama shoyu.
If you aren’t looking for ready-made food to eat on the spot but want to buy healthy groceries to enjoy during your stay in the desert, Clark’s Nutrition is a great place to go. It is like a regular grocery store but with all things healthy from coconut water, protein bars and sprouted breads to organic peanut butters, rice chips, vegetarian chiles, cheeses and more. There’s enough to stock a pantry or just provide snacks. It is the perfect place to pick up some bottles of kombucha along with a basket full of picnic items.
Whole Foods Market in Palm Desert is a great place for quick and easy pre-prepared foods from the deli like crunchy tempura sushi rolls, slices of buffalo chicken pizza, wheatberry salads and the famous kickin' chicken salad that marries Southwest flavors with a zing. Or build your own meal to take back to your hotel room from the fully stocked in store bars that offer everything from salads to olives to Middle Eastern falafel stuffed pitas. A full pressed juice bar offers a variety of specialty juice concoctions or you can create your own.
Sprouts Farmers Market in La Quinta is another shopping spot to pick up everything you need for a healthy meal plan while visiting the area. Aside from featuring a large inventory of body and mind conscious groceries and products, they offer an olive bar, deli catering, fresh sushi and online ordering services. Sprouts is known for its great bulk section where you’ll find everything from dark chocolate cashew superfood clusters to rolled oats. They also sell their very own line of wholesome, convenient, microwaveable Country Kitchen meals.
No healthy valley would be complete without its share of farmer’s markets. The Certified Farmers’ Market actually provides three cities: La Quinta, Palm Desert and Palm Springs, with a weekly spot to shop. Browsing the outdoor stalls turns up many treasures like produce from local farms, smoothies, goat’s and cow’s milk cheeses, an array of prized, artisanal olives, nut butters, nuts, sauerkraut, popsicles and kombucha tea. Hot foods like organic tamales and burritos are made frequently on site and cooking classes are available from time to time.